Improving data governance – a ‘slimmed down’, lightweight framework

Data governance, as a concept, discipline and a process, is almost an industry in itself. There’s a large amount of weighty material that sits behind a fully-blown data governance approach. This means that in terms of data in financial organisations, it’s suitable for significant enterprises. A big bank is a good example; they have the capability to invest significantly in a range of structures, processes and roles.

A data governance framework for a large financial organisation has a range of roles and responsibilities; frameworks designed to deal with employees in the thousands. Most of the investment managers AlphaCert works with employ less than 100 people. What this means is that the traditional ‘heavyweight’ structure isn’t always suitable. The challenge that needs addressing is: how do you ‘slim down’ a typical data governance framework without undermining its effectiveness?

This is what makes the investment management industry unique in terms of data governance. Although investment managers are heavily reliant on data – it being the foundation upon which their decision-making rests – they’re working within a small organisational structure. They tend to be quite agile in how they operate, which is something they want to maintain.

At AlphaCert, we’ve tried to place data governance in terms of the investment managers we’ve been working with. We look at a structure that’s more lightweight and fit for purpose for the size of their organisation. That means:

  • We focus on certification and compliance – how investment managers can be sure that the data they’re using is accurate and trustworthy.
  • We provide a system component that’s part of the overall data governance framework – what’s important to investment managers and how to find something that will ‘fit’.

If an investment management business is thinking about how to improve data governance, they need to consider:

  • How they’ll apply a lightweight framework
  • What solutions are already in place that could support that framework
  • How much of an investment they’re prepared to make when it comes to data governance.

It also means amending the roles of some people in the company so that a percentage of their time is spent working on the components of the data governance framework. It’s important to remain realistic about not only what outcomes a business is hoping to achieve using a lightweight framework. We’ve seen investment managers try to do too much when it comes to data governance – in terms of implementing a full-on framework – which then becomes too onerous and inevitably fizzles out.

It’s important that the approach is driven from the executive level down. It’s not something that should be pushed out from a technology department or an operations group; it needs to come from the CEO down. That message needs to be clear: a reliance on data, which is a critical asset for the organisation, so it needs to be accurate. Data governance is part of the strategic direction.

When an investment management company is seeking to improve data governance, there are two key points: remaining realistic, and using a strategic approach.

If you’re keen to find ways to implement a lightweight data governance framework to improve the accuracy and reliability of your data, get in touch for a consultation. We’ll help make sure that you’re in control.

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